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 The Negro and the South - 25 yrs Later
From a book entitled "Commencement Parts"

   The race problem was launched in the South when the Negro was given the ballot. A race scarce a hundred years removed from barbarism, with the bonds of slavery just broken, was given every privilege and every duty of American citizenship. As Ariosto's fairy by some mystery of her nature changed her being from a poisonous reptile to a creature beautiful and celestial, so the Negro was expected by some magic power to transform himself into a citizen capable and strong as the Anglo-Saxon.

   This well-meaning but mistaken policy, declared that two races, almost equal in number, but of distinct and inassimilable characteristics, one intelligent and experienced, the other ignorant and inexperienced, "should live together" on equal terms, in peace." The history of the whole world forbade the policy. Where can be found the record of any two dissimilar races living in peace side by side under one government, and on equal terms? Where can be found one reason to justify the belief that a simple constitutional amendment can change a prejudice as old as the world; and, reversing the history of the human race, make possible in America, under the most adverse circumstances, what had been impossible, even under the most favorable circumstances, in other countries? 

There is a conviction in the breast of every white man that his race must rule. You may read from our Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, you may fill our statute books to overflowing, the constitution may be amended and amended again, but the whites of the South cannot be ruled by a black majority.

Portrait of Lincoln engraved by T. Johnson from the original negative, photographed about 1860 by Hesler, Chicago

The enactment of such a policy was an injustice to the freedman himself. Thrust into a labyrinth of privileges, immunities and duties, without political training or education, he stood, and stands to-day, bewildered - the subject of shameless demagoguery and base deceit.

From this policy, in its very inception unreasonable and unjust, has evolved a problem upon whose proper solution depends the very life of the South. Too long has the North believed that the problem would solve itself. Too long has the South rested in the belief that this country, being a white man's country, would always be ruled by white men. Too long has the whole country indulged in its pet hallucination that no harm can come to America. Let us face the conditions in the South as they are. We should no longer close our eyes to the painful truth that in the South two opposing forces are struggling, the one to maintain supremacy, the other to secure it. Constituting these forces are two races whose amalgamation is impossible, as well as abhorrent. Educated in separate schools, worshiping in separate churches, traveling in separate cars, each race following its own social inclination which never bring the two together, the races are drifting further and further apart.

This is text from a  book entitled "Commencement Parts" written in 1898 by a prestigious person. It is a book of excerpts to be used as models for public speaking.



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